NASCAR & Auto Racing

Hamilton wins in China, now leads by 7 with one to go

SHANGHAI, China - Lewis Hamilton won the Chinese Grand Prix on Sunday to extend his Formula One drivers' championship lead to seven points.

Hamilton won by 14.9 seconds from his title rival Felipe Massa of Ferrari to move to the brink of his first title with only one race remaining in Brazil.

Massa moved up to second late in the race, comfortably passing teammate Kimi Raikonnen. Their second and third places, combined with the retirement of McLaren's Heikki Kovalainen, extended Ferrari's lead in the constructors' championship to 11 points.

BMW's Robert Kubica finished sixth, ending his slim title chances.

Hamilton and Massa are now tied for race wins and second places this season, but Hamilton has one more third placing, meaning he has the edge in countback if the pair are tied on points after the final race of the season.

Hamilton will clinch the title in Brazil unless Massa wins and the Briton finishes no higher than seventh, or Massa finishes second and Hamilton out of the points.

Renault's Fernando Alonso finished fourth, ahead of the BMW pair of Nick Heidfeld and Kubica. Toyota's Timo Glock was seventh and Renault's Nelson Piquet Jr. got the final point.

In a lap of little incident, Hamilton got off the line well from pole position and led from start to finish.

"It was a great start, one of the best we have had this year, which was needed," Hamilton said. "From there it was pretty smooth sailing."

Raikkonen was second for most of the race, before conceding that position to Massa on lap 50 of 56 to keep the Brazilian's title hopes alive.

"Lewis had the better car the whole weekend," Massa said.

Related stories from Modesto Bee